Archive for the 'Spiritual' Category



It Came Upon A Midnight Clear


h1 Sunday, December 1st, 2013

The poem for this carol was composed in 1849 by Edmund Sears at the request of his friend, William Parsons Lunt, pastor of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts. It was not until a year later that Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn came up with the beautiful melody.

I have recorded this with layers of Rickenbacker 12-string guitar to emulate bells ringing from an old grey stone church tower.

Lyrics:

[G] It came [C] upon the [G] midnight clear,
That glorious [C] song of [D] old,
[G] From angels [C] bending [G] near the earth,
To [C] touch their [D] harps of [G] gold:
[Bm} "Peace on the earth, [Em] goodwill to men,
From [D] heaven’s [A7} all-gracious [D] King.”
[G] The world in [C] solemn [G] stillness lay,
[C] To hear the [D] angels [G] sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus


h1 Thursday, August 1st, 2013

This hymn was written by Horatius Bonar of Edinburgh Scotland around 1866. He put these lyrics to an existing folk tune “Dives and Lazarus.” Although the song has been around for over a century, I had never heard it before attending a little blue church on the corner near our house. Someone in the congregation had requested it and the melody was so sweet I had to record it.
Lyrics:
[Gm] I heard the voice of [Bb] Jesus [F] say, [Gm] “Come unto Me and [F] rest;
[Gm] Lay down, thou weary [Bb] one, lay [F] down Thy head upon My [Gm] breast.”
[Bb] I came to Jesus [F] as I was, [Bb] weary and worn and [F] sad;
[Gm] I found in Him a [Bb] resting [F] place, and [Gm] He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.

We Are Crossing The Jordan River


h1 Saturday, June 1st, 2013

This is a song that helped catapult Joan Baez to become the “Queen of Folk Music.” Bob Gibson had invited her to sing with him at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. Her performance was so riveting that two record labels, Columbia and Vanguard tried to sign her to a recording contract. Joan chose Vanguard thinking she would have more artistic license at a smaller label.

Three years later Joan introduced her audiences to a then-unknown Bob Dylan.

Lyrics:
[D] We are crossing that [D7] Jordan River
[G] I want my [D] crown, [G] I want my [D] crown
[G] We are crossing that Jordan River
[A7] I want my crown, my golden crown
[D] Jordan River deep and [D7] wide
[G] Got my home on the [Gm] other side
[D] We are crossing [B7] that Jordan [E] River [A]
[D] I want my crown

We are climbing Jacob’s ladder
I want to sit down, I want to sit down
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder
I want to sit down, on my golden throne
Jordan River chilly and cold
Chills the body, not the soul
We are crossing that Jordan River
I want my crown

Now when I get to Heaven
I’m going to sit down, I’m going to sit down
Now when I get to Heaven
I’m going to sit down, on my golden throne
Jordan River deep and wide
I Got my home on the other side
We are crossing that Jordan River
I want my crown

Jordan River chilly and cold
Chills the body, not the soul
We are crossing that Jordan River
I want my crown

Swing Low Sweet Chariot


h1 Monday, April 1st, 2013

This was written by Wallis Willis, circa 1860 in Native American Territory, which is now Hugo Oklahoma. The Red River inspired the song because it reminded Willis of the Jordan River where the prophet Elijah was taken up to Heaven.
Lyrics:
[G] Swing low [Em] sweet chariot
[G] coming for to carry me [D] home
[Am] Swing low o o o [C] o o o
[G] coming for to [D] carry me [G] home

Swing low sweet chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing low o o o o o o
coming for to carry me home

Well I looked over yonder and what did I see
coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
coming for to carry me home

Swing low sweet chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing low o o o o o o
coming for to carry me home

Well if you get there before I do
coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m a-commin’ too
coming for to carry me home

Swing low sweet chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing low o o o o o o
coming for to carry me home

Well the happiest day I can say
coming for to carry me home
When Jesus washed all my sins away
coming for to carry me home

Swing low sweet chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing low o o o o o o
coming for to carry me home

Swing low sweet chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing low o o o o o o
coming for to carry me home

We Three Kings


h1 Saturday, December 1st, 2012

This is a Christmas carol I’ve never tried to play before. As I went through the chords, it struck me they were very much like the patterns folk singer Bob Gibson favored. A good example is his version of “Wayfaring Stranger” I recorded for the Folk Den back in May of 1997. I’ve always loved songs that progress from Em to G and C. The sound of a minor chord rising to a major chord is uplifting!.
Lyrics:
3/4 TIME CAPO ON THIRD FRET

[Em] We three kings of [D] Orient [Em] are
Bearing gifts we [D] traveled so [Em] far
[G] Field and [D] fountain, [G] moor and [C] mountain
[D] Following yonder [Em] star

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

[G] O Star of wonder, [C] star of [G] night
Star with royal [C] beauty [G] bright
[G] Westward [D] leading, [C] still [D] proceeding
[G] Guide us to Thy [C] perfect [G] light

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Give Me Oil In My Lamp


h1 Saturday, September 1st, 2012

“Give Me Oil In My Lamp” is great old Gospel song that I recorded on the Byrds’ “Easy Rider” album back in 1969. It’s derived from Matthew 25:1-3 in the Bible: “The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them” In the end the foolish virgins ran out of oil.

Lyrics:
Verse 1:
[G] Give me oil in my lamp,
[C] Keep me burning,
[G] Give me oil in my lamp, [A] I pray. [D]
[G] Give me oil in my lamp,
[C] Keep me burning,
[G] Keep me burning
Till the [D] break of [G] day.

Chorus:
[G] Sing hosanna! [C] sing hosanna!
[D] Sing hosanna to the [G] King of kings!
Sing hosanna! [C] sing hosanna!
[D] Sing hosanna to the [G] King!

Verse 2:
Give me joy in my heart,
Keep me singing.
Give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart,
Keep me singing.
Keep me singing
Till the break of day.

Jacob’s Dream


h1 Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Painting by William Blake c. 1800

This is a variation of the spiritual “Jacob’s Ladder” There have been many versions of this, some used to organize unions by changing the lyrics. The description of Jacob’s ladder appears in Genesis 28:10-19,
“Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it [or "beside him"] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it.” And he was afraid, and said, “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

I’ve used six key modulations in this, starting in B and ascending to the octave B

Lyrics:
Jacob’s dream beheld a ladder X 3
Glory to the Lord

Its top reached all the way to heaven X 3
Glory to the Lord

Holy angels were ascending X 3
Glory to the Lord

Behold the Lord God stood above it X 3
Glory to the Lord

And the Lord God spoke a blessing X3
Glory to the Lord

I am with you and will keep you X3
Glory to the Lord

Jacob woke up from his sleeping X3
Glory to the Lord

Let My People Go!


h1 Sunday, April 1st, 2012

One of the greatest spirituals, just in time for Passover and Easter!

Lyrics:
When Israel was in Egypt’s Land
Let my people go
Opressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go.

Chorus:
[Gm] Go down, [Cm] Moses
[Gm] Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ [Cm] Pharoah
[D7] Let my people [Gm] go.

Thus saith the Lord, bold Moses said
Let my people go
If not, I’ll smite your first-born dead
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

No more shall they in bondage toil
Let my people go
Let them come out with Egypt’s spoil
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

The Lord told Moses what to do
Let my people go
To lead the Hebrew children through
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

O come along Moses, you’ll not get lost
Let my people go
Stretch out your rod and come across
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

As Israel stood by the waterside
Let my people go
At God’s command it did divide
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

When they reached the other shore
Let my people go
They sang a song of triumph o’er
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

Pharaoh said he’d go across
Let my people go
But Pharaoh and his host were lost
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

Jordan shall stand up like a wall
Let my people go
And the walls of Jericho shall fall
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

Your foes shall not before you stand
Let my people go
And you’ll possess fair Canaan’s land
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

O let us all from bondage flee
Let my people go
And let us all in Christ be free
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

We need not always weep and mourn
Let my people go
And wear these slavery chains forlorn
Let my people go.

Chorus:
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt’s Land.
Tell ol’ Pharoah
Let my people go.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlmen


h1 Thursday, December 1st, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as described on Carols.org.uk

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

I recorded the vocals and acoustic guitar at the Lee’s “Farm Niente” over Thanksgiving 2011. When I got home I overdubbed the Rickenbacker 370/12/RM JETGLO which Bill Lee graciously gave me.

Lyrics:

[Dm] God rest ye merry, gentlemen
 let nothing you dismay

Remember, Christ, our Saviour
 was born on Christmas day

[Gm] To save us all from [Dm] Satan’s power 
when we were gone [C] astray

[Dm] O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and [C] joy

[Dm] O tidings of [C] comfort and [Dm] joy



In Bethlehem, in Israel,
 this blessed Babe was born

And laid within a manger
 upon this blessed morn

To which His Mother Mary 
did nothing take in scorn

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



From God our Heavenly Father
 a blessed Angel came;

And unto certain Shepherds
 brought tidings of the same:

How that in Bethlehem was born
 the Son of God by Name.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
” Let nothing you affright,

This day is born a Saviour
 of a pure Virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in Him 
from Satan’s power and might.
“
O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



The shepherds at those tidings
 rejoiced much in mind,

And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:

And went to Bethlehem straightway
 the Son of God to find.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



And when they came to Bethlehem
 where our dear Saviour lay,

They found Him in a manger,
 where oxen feed on hay;

His Mother Mary kneeling down,
 unto the Lord did pray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



Now to the Lord sing praises,
 all you within this place,

And with true love and brotherhood
 each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas
 all other doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

Paul & Silas


h1 Friday, July 1st, 2011

A classic Gospel song, in the picking style I learned from Earl Scruggs.
Lyrics:

[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long
[D] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
Cryin’ He shall [E] deliver [A] me

Jailer come and lock the gate
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

That old jail did reel and rock
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas prayed to God
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me